South Korean Flight Attendants Fight for the Right to Wear Pants


Female flight attendants on South Korea’s Asiana Airlines, the country’s second largest commercial flight company, might be getting a uniform redesign after lobbying for the company to relax its incredibly strict appearance requirements. Asiana’s labor union has been working with South Korea’s human rights commission to make changes to the company’s 10-page list of appearance guidelines for female employees since last year and and only now has Asiana agreed to consider a uniform with trousers during the next uniform redesign, though there has been no indication on when that might be.

As of now, Asiana regulates its female flight attendants’ appearances down to the number of hairpins they’re allowed to wear, whether or not they’re allowed to wear glasses (they are, but only since January), the amount of eyeliner they wear, how they cover up facial blemishes, earring length and, of course, skirt-only uniforms.

Asiana claims that the skirts are meant to promote the brand’s “high-class Korean beauty” and that they use their aesthetic as a tool in staying competitive in the Asian market. (Asiana is the only South Korean airline to not allow women to wear pants.)

While it’s a small victory — and only a half victory at that — the union is pleased that the company is considering altering their uniforms. “I hope the decision would help change similar discriminatory rules that govern how women in service industries, such as hotels, dress and do their hair and makeup,” said union head Kweon Soo-joung.

One loss for the skirt-chasers at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce: Korea. One sort-of win for women service workers everywhere.

SKorean Cabin Crew Fight Skirt-Only Dress Code

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin